30 Days of Gratitude: Day 1

All over Blog Land I see challenges thrown out:  30 Days of Books, 30 Days of Blogshots (fiction of only 100 words), 30 Days of Crumcake.  Bloggers challenge themselves to come up with a posting every day on these topics for the duration (100 Days of Dogs).  Sometimes they inspire other bloggers to pick up the challenge and run with it, too (A Month of Strangers).  I’ve noticed a lot of these challenges are issued by long-time bloggers who are looking for inspiration and ways to freshen up their blogitude.  I think they’re kinda cool.

So, I’m starting my own challenge.  My plan is to create a page in my Gratitude Journal every day and post it with a blurb.  I won’t have 30 consecutive days—there will be other breaking revelations to post, and I’ve got my trip to Pittsburgh coming up at the end of the month—but I’ll keep at it until my Gratitude Journal holds 30 new pages.

Gratitude heals.  Research has shown that focusing on what we’re grateful for in our lives calms the limbic system of the brain, which controls emotion, and enhances judgment.  In his book Authentic Happiness, Dr. Martin Seligman wrote that expressing gratitude on a daily basis is one of the major factors in creating joy, happiness and life satisfaction.  People who express gratitude regularly are healthier, more optimistic, make more progress toward their goals, have a greater sense of well-being, and are more helpful to others.

To all of this, I say “Yes, please.”

So, here’s my first entry for 30 Days of Gratitude:

Ever since I was a teenager, I longed for the time to write.  I squeezed in time early in the morning before work, during lunch breaks, late at night and on weekends between other obligations.  There was never enough time.  How could I ever become the lauded published author of my dreams?

When bipolar disorder blew up my life, it took away all obstacles of time.  I remember the day I realized that not being able to work, not having a husband or house, not living in a town that required a 45 minute commute to get groceries provided me with all the time I’d ever wanted to write and explore other ways to express myself.  So, I started to write.

This page in my Journal lists the novellas and novels I’ve either completed or started since that day.  And there’s more to come.

8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kathryn McCullough
    Jul 02, 2011 @ 08:43:14

    Great post, Sandy! And I love the way you have worked flexibility into the challenge itself! I imagine it will make the space necessary for your gratitude to grow–bloom into something even more lovely than the thing you are currently thankful for!

    Hope you enjoy lots of fireworks this weekend from your over-stuffed chair!


  2. Kitty
    Jul 02, 2011 @ 12:05:33

    So awesome! It seems that a lot of us THINK we know what we want… and so often we think money would solve all of our problems. However, on closer examination, we may find out that we want money so we can have what we REALLY want… which is more time to do what we passionately want to do. Then, when we finally have time, we often don’t spend it well. This is my current, sometimes drastic, mood-swing in action… The hours of my job being cut in half has afforded me all the time I need to finish my current book. On the good days, that’s a really terrific thing… But on the tough days, it feels like disaster and failure and defeat… and who can write when they feel like that? But I know this Gratitude thing works, so I pull it out of my toolbox often!


    • Sandy Sue
      Jul 02, 2011 @ 19:59:04

      It took me awhile to figure out how to dance with all this time. Did exactly what you said. The big Aha Moment was when I finally embraced Shitty Drafts and Piddly Output. What a shift to look at the sum total of three awful sentences and be perfectly content for the day. Because I knew that I would come back to it tomorrow, and that my subconscious would cook those three sentences into something delicious while I was away. And it *always* happens. Trust. Trust. Trust.


  3. strugglingwithbipolar
    Jul 02, 2011 @ 15:40:41

    I love this challenge. Thank you for sharing the things you are grateful for in life. I think that there are many times in our lives where we let these things go unnoticed. I look forward to reading these posts!



  4. ManicMuses
    Jul 04, 2011 @ 02:49:00

    Fantastic! When I start writing, I keep thinking of all of the household things that need doing. I have to ask, in the beginning, how difficult was it to stay on task?


    • Sandy Sue
      Jul 04, 2011 @ 12:26:35

      Honestly, once I realized that my illness gave me what I’d wanted all my life, I stopped setting expectations. Whether I wrote three sentences or three pages, I was just happy to be writing. When I had a bad day or my brain was too foggy from medication, I wrote about that. All I did was show up at the empty page every day. What did I care how long it took me to finish a story? That new-found gentleness got more stories written than I ever dreamed.


  5. someone scared
    Jul 29, 2011 @ 18:54:58

    I’ve added you as a link to my blog, I am following your journey, my journey into treatment is about to begin and I hope you are okay being on my blogroll, if not let me know. -someone scared

    my email address should give away who I really am, hint hint 🙂


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